Let’s Roleplay Life: Dungeons and Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons is cool as hell
In Dungeons and Dragons, you dive into your character and try to embody someone else completely. There are varying degrees of how far people go into this, but regardless, there is some loss of self.
The fun is how much you lose yourself in that character. You try to see things from their point of view, with their Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom scores. It gets ridiculous at times, but everyone tries to be on their toes and ready for anything.
You could be the self righteous paladin, who wants to save everyone and for everything to be idealistic as possible, the book worm wizard who is vastly more intelligent than the rest of the group, or you can be an idiot barbarian who like to smash things. The group dynamic is always a wacky mix.
When people are forced into the deepest roleplaying sessions, there is almost always an outcome that is both hilarious and memorable. They have to both embody their character’s spirit, stats, and personality to deliver something powerful or awful, depending on the roll. When the dice is rolled, the person has to be ready to play the scene out, no matter the outcome.
Often, it’s on the dungeon master (world builder) to turn the screws on someone. Often, for brevity, people make their dice roll and if it’s high, they just succeed or it’s low, they fail. When the DM forces them to act out the scene as their character, there is almost always a brilliant outcome. It makes the person act on the fly and improv a grand speech, perform a song, or come up with a clever lie. Hopefully, they are ready for what they may need to do.
Among our typical group of friends there is a person who dives deepest into his characters, which always leads to the most hilarious speeches, impromptu poems, or made up songs. He also tends to play a character that is known as the “face” or the person the group makes talk to everyone. Just in case he would get embarrassed, lets call him… Tim.
In one such instance, we had come across a tribe of people. They didn’t speak any language we knew so we essentially did hand motions to get our point across to them.
Long story short, I believe we were trying to get them to help us fight some big bad guy because if they didn’t help they would be in danger.
So they took us to their grounds where we were able to speak to the leader. We convinced him that we needed their help in defeating this evil and he agreed to lend us their spears in the battle. I believe the tribe leader was able to speak our language which made negotiations much easier.
Then as we were preparing for our big battle, Tim decides he wants to give a great rallying speech to these people so that they’re are prepared and excited for battle. Hopefully, this will be a roll it and forget it situation.
He decides he wants to do a diplomacy check, his favorite, to get them fully on board.
We’re all waiting in anticipation to see the outcome of this.
He picks up his dice. Rolls.
This was a great roll. The crowd will surely be inspired.
This session, we’ve been able to get away with a lot of “we roll this, it’s a success” type situations, but this time, the dungeon master decides he wants to hear the speech.
Tim reels, because he was not ready for this.
We’re all dying laughing because the situation could not be more hilarious, how is he going to give some rallying speech to these people who don’t even speak our language?
Slowly, the rest of the group starts chanting “Speech, speech, speech”
We’re raising our voices as he’s trying to think of how to do this.
“Speech, speech, speech!”
Then he breaks our chant and says “Alright, I’m ready.”
Then he proceeds to do some elaborate mix of hand gestures and simple words that end up looking like he wants the entire tribe to stab him, or that our entire group will stab them with spears.
It was hilarious. Unfortunately, it exists somewhere on video. Someone’s Razr phone had it, but I haven’t seen it in years.
But the memory lives on.
Dungeons and Dragons is one of the greatest social tools available. Unfortunately, D&D is often overlooked because it’s a game for nerds. Some of the best, happiest times of my life wouldn’t have happened without it.
Personally, it has given me so much. It helped me empathize with people much more than anything else. I’m looking at life though a different lens for a few hours every couple weeks.
The greatest thing it’s given me is the ability to think on my feet. You never know what the dungeon master has in store for you, but you have to be ready for anything. Maybe it’s carrying a folding boat the entire campaign only to realize you can throw a full sized boat at a boss in a time of desperation. Or, what about the time where we had to create an elaborate hoax to sneak into the king’s castle, only to be found out shortly after we entered. Of course we weren’t ready for that, but we needed to think fast to get out of the situation.
Being able to think quickly and handle any situation is helpful for everything that you do. How many projects have a wrench thrown in them? What do you do when you break a tool while doing yard work? How do you carry a long, deep conversation with a person you’ve just met?
Dungeons and Dragons has given me the ability to be ready for the anything the world might toss at me.
It’s also given me some of my fondest memories.
If you haven’t yet, please try it sometime. You’re not “too cool” to play Dungeons and Dragons. Vin Diesel, Steven Colbert, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Drew Berrymore, and Jon Favreau have all played and I’m sure they would disagree with you.
Everyone loves to roleplay. It’s a blast stepping out of your own shoes and into somene elses for a bit. This gives you the ability to explore different facets of a personality, do things that would otherwise be unacceptable, or be someone completely else. Now think of the best character you can think of. Now, what’s preventing you from embodying facets of these characteristics?
I let’s look at some roleplay games or things in pop culture. We can cherry-pick a few elements here, there, and hopefully refine ourselves in the ways that we want to. Hopefully if you pull aspects of each of these games, you’ll become some Captain Planet type super human version of yourself.
Originally published at www.goodjobzack.com on September 21, 2016.